Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA Department of Psychology

Open Access Policy Deposits bannerUCLA

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UCLA Department of Psychology researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of Associations between inflammatory marker profiles and neurocognitive functioning in people with schizophrenia and non-psychiatric comparison subjects.

Associations between inflammatory marker profiles and neurocognitive functioning in people with schizophrenia and non-psychiatric comparison subjects.

(2022)

Background

Cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia is the key predictor of functional disability and drives economic burden. Inflammation has been increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia, yet its role in cognitive decline has not been evaluated. This study explores the association between inflammation and cognitive functioning in persons with schizophrenia.

Methods

Participants included 143 persons with schizophrenia (PwS) and 139 non-psychiatric comparison subjects (NCs) from an ongoing study of aging. Cognitive assessments included validated measures for executive functioning, processing speed, and visuospatial skills. Plasma levels of nine biomarkers associated with inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, serum amyloid A, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interferon gamma-induced protein-10, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, fractalkine, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor) were quantified using commercially available, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Partial least squares regression was used to develop a composite "inflammatory profile" to maximize correlations with the cognitive outcomes. We then constructed a best-fit model using these composites and their interactions with diagnosis and sex as the predictors, controlling for covariates.

Results

The biomarker composite, which best correlated with scores on cognitive testing, included high sensitivity C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, serum amyloid A, interleukin-6, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, for a 5-biomarker "inflammatory profile." The best-fit model showed a significant biomarker composite by diagnosis by sex three-way interaction, for executive function and processing speed, but not visuospatial skill.

Conclusions

This approach to building an "inflammatory profile" may provide insight into inflammatory pathways affecting brain function and potential targets for anti-inflammatory interventions to improve cognition in schizophrenia.

Cover page of Psychological Resources and Biomarkers of Health in the Context of Chronic Parenting Stress.

Psychological Resources and Biomarkers of Health in the Context of Chronic Parenting Stress.

(2022)

Background

Epidemiological studies link psychological resources to better physical health. One reason may be that psychological resources are protective in stressful contexts. This study tested whether indeed psychological resources are protective against biological degradation for healthy mid-life women under the chronic stress of caring for a child with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis ("caregivers").

Methods

We tested whether five types of psychosocial resources (i.e., eudaimonic well-being, autonomy, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and mastery) were associated with biological indices of aging in a sample of mid-life women stratified by chronic stress; half were caregivers (n = 92) and half were mothers of neurotypical children (n = 91; controls). Selected stress and age related biological outcomes were insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), systemic inflammation (IL-6, CRP), and cellular aging (leukocyte telomere length). We tested whether each resource was associated with these biomarkers, and whether caregiving status and high parenting stress moderated that relationship.

Results

All the psychological resources except mastery were significantly negatively associated with insulin resistance, while none were related to systemic inflammation or telomere length. The relationships between eudaimonic well-being and HOMA-IR, and self-acceptance and HOMA-IR, were moderated by parental stress; lower resources were associated with higher insulin resistance, but only for women reporting high parental stress. The well-known predictors of age and BMI accounted for 46% of variance in insulin resistance, and psychological resources accounted for an additional 13% of variance.  CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that higher eudaimonic well-being and greater self-acceptance may be protective for the metabolic health of mid-life women, and particularly in the context of high parenting stress. This has important implications given the rising rates of both parental stress and metabolic disease, and because psychological interventions can increase eudaimonic well-being and self-acceptance.

In-degree centrality in a social network is linked to coordinated neural activity.

(2022)

Convergent processing of the world may be a factor that contributes to social connectedness. We use neuroimaging and network analysis to investigate the association between the social-network position (as measured by in-degree centrality) of first-year university students and their neural similarity while watching naturalistic audio-visual stimuli (specifically, videos). There were 119 students in the social-network study; 63 of them participated in the neuroimaging study. We show that more central individuals had similar neural responses to their peers and to each other in brain regions that are associated with high-level interpretations and social cognition (e.g., in the default mode network), whereas less-central individuals exhibited more variable responses. Self-reported enjoyment of and interest in stimuli followed a similar pattern, but accounting for these data did not change our main results. These findings show that neural processing of external stimuli is similar in highly-central individuals but is idiosyncratic in less-central individuals.

Cover page of Causal Mediation Analysis in Single Case Experimental Designs: Introduction to the Special Issue.

Causal Mediation Analysis in Single Case Experimental Designs: Introduction to the Special Issue.

(2022)

This special issue of Evaluation and the Health Professions is dedicated to methods for causal mediation analysis in Single Case Experimental Designs (SCEDs). Mediation analysis is used to identify intermediate variables that transmit the effect of the independent variable on the outcome. Until recently, mediation analysis was mostly confined to between-subjects designs and panel studies with few exceptions. Consequently, most of the developments in causal mediation analysis have also been restricted to such designs. In applied health research, SCEDs have been used to evaluate total effects of treatments on outcomes of interest. Providing researchers with the methods for evaluating causal indirect effects for individual participants can lead to important improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. This special issue includes articles that describe advanced quantitative methods for testing mediators in SCEDs, propose and test approaches that allow for relaxing statistical assumptions that may not hold in real data, and illustrate mediation analysis for a single participant in real and simulated SCEDs data.

Costs associated with treatment of insomnia in Alzheimer's disease caregivers: a comparison of mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

(2022)

Background

Among the over 5 million informal caregivers for patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the United States (US), over 60% experience insomnia. Research on insomnia treatment efficacy in AD caregivers is limited. An ongoing randomized non-inferiority clinical trial, the Caregiver Sleep Research study, is evaluating whether mindfulness meditation is non-inferior to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) in the treatment of insomnia in AD caregivers. The present report examines estimated intervention costs in this ongoing trial.

Methods

Micro-costing was used to itemize and abstract costs of the two interventions: a mindfulness-based intervention known as mindful awareness practices for insomnia (MAP-I); and CBT-I. This approach involves collecting detailed data on resources utilized and the unit costs of those resources, thereby revealing actual resource use and economic costs for each treatment arm. Personnel time, patient time, and supplies were inventoried, and unit costs were applied. Caregiver time costs, including travel, were based on US Labor Bureau home-health aide national mean hourly wages; instructor/staff costs were based on hourly wages. Per-participant and program costs were calculated assuming individual- and group-delivery to reflect real-world implementation. Sensitivity analyses evaluated robustness of estimates.

Results

From the societal perspective, per-participant MAP-I costs were $1884 for individual and $1377 for group delivery; for CBT-I, these costs were $3978 and $1981, respectively. Compared with CBT-I, MAP-I provided cost savings of $2094 (53%) and $604 (30%) per treated caregiver for individual and group delivery, respectively. From the US healthcare system perspective, MAP-I vs. CBT-I participant savings were $1872 (65%) for individual and $382 (44%) for group interventions, respectively. For MAP-I and CBT-I, instructor in-class time was the highest cost component. Results were most sensitive to combined instructor time costs.

Conclusions

Treatment of insomnia with MAP-I, compared to CBT-I, yields substantial cost savings for society and the healthcare system. With this potential for cost savings, results of the ongoing non-inferiority trial have critical implications for insomnia treatment dissemination and its benefits to AD caregivers and other community populations with insomnia.

Novel Agents for the Pharmacological Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder.

(2022)

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a highly prevalent but severely under-treated disorder, with only three widely-approved pharmacotherapies. Given that AUD is a very heterogeneous disorder, it is unlikely that one single medication will be effective for all individuals with an AUD. As such, there is a need to develop new, more effective, and diverse pharmacological treatment options for AUD with the hopes of increasing utilization and improving care. In this qualitative literature review, we discuss the efficacy, mechanism of action, and tolerability of approved, repurposed, and novel pharmacotherapies for the treatment of AUD with a clinical perspective. Pharmacotherapies discussed include: disulfiram, acamprosate, naltrexone, nalmefene, topiramate, gabapentin, varenicline, baclofen, sodium oxybate, aripiprazole, ondansetron, mifepristone, ibudilast, suvorexant, prazosin, doxazosin, N-acetylcysteine, GET73, ASP8062, ABT-436, PF-5190457, and cannabidiol. Overall, many repurposed and novel agents discussed in this review demonstrate clinical effectiveness and promise for the future of AUD treatment. Importantly, these medications also offer potential improvements towards the advancement of precision medicine and personalized treatment for the heterogeneous AUD population. However, there remains a great need to improve access to treatment, increase the menu of approved pharmacological treatments, and de-stigmatize and increase treatment-seeking for AUD.

Embedding comprehensive smoking cessation programs into community clinics: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial.

(2022)

Background

Cigarette smoking among adults in the USA is a leading cause of preventable death worldwide, even though there has been a decline in prevalence since 2005. The addictive nature of nicotine is the chief reason smokers continue to use tobacco. Although the majority of smokers report a desire to quit smoking, a small minority who attempt to quit achieve long-term cessation. Combined, smoking cessation best practices include coordinated medication and behavioral treatments. However, these treatments are not currently adequately delivered to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the publicly funded patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and community mental health clinics operated by Los Angeles County (LAC)-Department of Health Services (LACDHS) and LAC-Department of Mental Health (LACDMH).

Methods

This is a 5-year implementation, cluster-randomized comparative effectiveness trial that will support the implementation of smoking cessation services delivered in LAC-LACDHS-operated outpatient primary care clinics and in LAC-LACDMH-operated community mental health clinics. We will enroll 1000 participants from clinics that will offer smoking cessation services and 200 from clinics that will offer treatment as usual. Participants will be asked to complete assessments at baseline, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. The assessments will include self-reports on smoking history, anxiety, stress, quality of life, and participant satisfaction. Participants who are assigned to clinics that provide smoking cessation services will also be asked about the frequency of their participation in the smoking cessation services during the 12-month period.

Discussion

This study will evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing smoking cessation services in outpatient primary care and community mental health clinics. It will also determine if there will be higher rates of smoking cessation in the implementation sites as compared to the sites with treatment as usual. If the implementation proves to be effective, the plan is to sustain these services using a workflow we will develop in the LAC-operated sites. This would lead to ameliorating the significant smoking cessation treatment gaps among those served within the LAC Health Agency departments.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04717544 "Embedding comprehensive smoking cessation programs into community clinics." Registered on January 22, 2021.

Cover page of Social Determinants of Health and ADHD Symptoms in Preschool-Age Children.

Social Determinants of Health and ADHD Symptoms in Preschool-Age Children.

(2022)

Objective

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) disproportionately affects socioeconomically disadvantaged children, but for unclear reasons. We examined the association between social determinants of health (SDH) and ADHD symptoms in a national sample of preschool-age children.

Methods

We conducted exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) with a sample of 7,565 preschool-age children from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, to examine the association between ADHD symptoms and SDH.

Results

EFA indicated a one-factor structure for ADHD symptoms, and three factors for SDH (socioeconomic status, access to basic needs, and caregiver well-being). Independently, all three SDH were significantly associated with higher ADHD symptoms. However, in the ESEM model, only worse caregiver well-being (β = .39, p < .01) was significantly associated with ADHD symptoms, and fully mediated the relationship between SDH and ADHD symptoms.

Conclusion

Addressing caregiver well-being in preschoolers with ADHD symptoms could be an early intervention strategy.

Consciousness is supported by near-critical slow cortical electrodynamics.

(2022)

Mounting evidence suggests that during conscious states, the electrodynamics of the cortex are poised near a critical point or phase transition and that this near-critical behavior supports the vast flow of information through cortical networks during conscious states. Here, we empirically identify a mathematically specific critical point near which waking cortical oscillatory dynamics operate, which is known as the edge-of-chaos critical point, or the boundary between stability and chaos. We do so by applying the recently developed modified 0-1 chaos test to electrocorticography (ECoG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings from the cortices of humans and macaques across normal waking, generalized seizure, anesthesia, and psychedelic states. Our evidence suggests that cortical information processing is disrupted during unconscious states because of a transition of low-frequency cortical electric oscillations away from this critical point; conversely, we show that psychedelics may increase the information richness of cortical activity by tuning low-frequency cortical oscillations closer to this critical point. Finally, we analyze clinical electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) and show that assessing the proximity of slow cortical oscillatory electrodynamics to the edge-of-chaos critical point may be useful as an index of consciousness in the clinical setting.